Arguably Scotland's best-known, biggest and busiest picture agency – SNS Group – has begun the process of parting company with one of its three directors.
Stuart Nicol was informed last week by his two fellow directors that he was being put on 'gardening leave' for three months, with immediate effect, ahead of a move to make his post redundant. He held the post of operations director, following his joining the company almost two years ago.
SNS Group says the move is for economic reasons. Nicol, unlike fellow directors, Jim McCann and Jeff Holmes, has no equity stake in SNS Group, which has 21 staff.
SNS Group has contracts with most, if not all, the major media outlets in Scotland, including The Scotsman and BBC Scotland.
Nicol – a former picture editor at the Daily Record – told allmediascotland.com: “We had a board meeting on January 20 and there was no hint of it then. I am shocked by what has happened; I am consulting my lawyer over what to do next.”
Added the 53 year-old, who lives near Cumbernauld: “I was told by Jim McCann on February 1 that the company could no longer afford me, as I was the single-highest earner, a big target and I had to go. Some days later, I received a letter explaining I was being made redundant and we had entered a consultation period.
“The two owners came back from holiday a week last Monday and told me that I was being made redundant. During the meeting it was decided to send me home on gardening leave. I can understand this, as it was a very difficult situation, as all three directors shared the same office, so things were a little difficult for both parties. However, they are obliged to pay me three months notice as detailed in my contract of employment.
“I am sad the way things have worked out. There are some very good, hard-working people at SNS, who I will miss and I wish them all well for the future.”
Six years ago, following ten years as the Record's picture editor, he joined Press Association, as group picture editor, before very quickly being head-hunted to become executive picture editor and assistant editor (operations) at the Telegraph Group.
Jim McCann told allmediascotland.com: “We simply couldn't afford, in the present economic climate, to have an operations director. It's no reflection on either him or his abilities.
“Growing the business on the scale we had hoped for has not proved possible these last two years.”